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Christopher Palmer and Sergio Miceli

(Alexandrovich)

(b St Petersburg, Russia, 16/29 Oct 1901; d Rome, Italy, 7 June 1983). Italian composer and conductor of Russian origin. A grandson of the composer Nikolay Sokolov and a brother of the cellist Massimo Amfitheatrof, he studied with Vītols in St. Petersburg and Křička in Prague, but the greater part of his training was undertaken in Rome, where he studied composition with Respighi at the Conservatorio di S Cecilia (diploma 1924) and the organ at the Pontifical Academy of Sacred Music. He was engaged as a pianist, organist, and chorus assistant at the Augusteo (1924–9), also conducting the orchestra under Molinari's supervision. Thereafter he was artistic director of the Genoa and Trieste radio stations and conductor and manager for Italian radio in Turin; he also conducted elsewhere in Europe. In 1937 he went to the United States as associate conductor of the Minneapolis SO, and in ...

Article

Martin Marks

(b New York, NY, 19 April 1888; d Ukiah, CA, 13 Feb 1959). Composer and conductor. After private music study in Berlin, he conducted for Oscar Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera Company, which closed in 1910, and then for productions on Broadway. By 1921 he had become an assistant conductor at the Capitol Theater, where silent films were presented with full orchestral accompaniment; in 1923, in partnership with David Mendoza, he replaced Erno Rapée as principal conductor. In addition to conducting, he composed incidental film music for the Capitol as needed, including 57 pieces published in the Capitol Photoplay Series (New York, 1923–7). From 1925 to 1929 he collaborated with Mendoza in New York on compilation scores for at least 20 MGM films, beginning with The Big Parade. Their collaboration continued with the music for Don Juan (1926), the first feature film score to be presented using the Vitaphone process, which mechanically synchronized the playback of music recorded on wax discs with the projection of the film. In ...

Article

Daniel Goldmark

(b Minneapolis, MN, 28 March, 1941). Composer for television, conductor, arranger, and orchestrator. Clausen grew up in Jamestown, ND, where he took up French horn and piano, as well as singing in school choirs. He attended North Dakota State University studying mechanical engineering before a summer in New York City, before being exposed to first-run Broadway musicals and other professional musical settings convinced him he should pursue music instead. He took up string bass and baritone sax and graduated with a degree in music in 1963, followed by a masters degree at Berklee College of Music.

After moving to southern California, his first high-profile professional gig was as an arranger for the second season of The Donny and Marie Show, and eventually conductor and music director for the show’s third season. He moved away from variety and into scripted drama with his work on Moonlighting; during this time he also scored the comedy series ...

Article

Ryan Dohoney

(b Concord, NH, March 7, 1940; d Cheektowaga, NY, April 9, 2016). American filmmaker, composer, violinist, and media artist. He began playing violin in his youth and studied with Ronald Knudsen. He became fascinated with the physics of sounds and interested in intonation, the harmonic series, long-held tones, and the act of close listening. He attended Harvard University and received an AB in mathematics in 1962. While at Harvard he met Henry Flynt and Christian George Wolff and became involved with the post-Cagean avant garde based in New York. In 1959 Conrad met La Monte Young, who became a frequent collaborator in the mid-1960s. Conrad credited an encounter with the music of 17th-century composer and violinist Heinrich Ignaz Biber in the late 1950s with a profound transformation of his musical thinking, drawing his attention to variable tunings and the role of timbre as an aesthetic concern. Conrad’s exposure to the music of Ali Akbar Khan also heightened his interest in drones as a basis for musical performance....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Napier, New Zealand, May 14, 1946). Intermedia artist whose transdisciplinary practice includes video/sound work and installations, experimental instruments, graphic scores, and improvisation. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland (DipFA Hons, 1971) and the University of West Sydney, Nepean (MA Hons, 2000). Since the early 1970s his sound-based artworks have involved newly invented instruments. A member of the original Scratch Orchestra in London (1968–9), Dadson founded Scratch Orchestra (NZ) in 1970 and later From Scratch (1974–2004). A key part of From Scratch’s development was instrument invention, from using found objects to making unique, custom-designed devices. Tunings evolved from randomly pitched sounds to 12-note and microtonal tunings, and just intonation. Central to this development were tuned percussion stations composed of rack-supported, four-tiered assemblies of PVC pipes, tuned-tongue bamboos and bells (in which parallel slots cut in the materials produce a vibrating tongue matching the resonant frequency of the open or closed tubes), and roto-tom drums, combined with special methods of playing. These percussion stations, along with other novel struck and spun acoustic instruments, produced the characteristic From Scratch sound. More recent instruments include the Zitherum (long-stringed instruments that are drummed and bowed), the metal-pronged Nundrum, the stroked RodBaschet, the gong tree, Foley-trays, the Water Cooler Drumkit, water bells, the Gloop-spring-string-drum family, the Sprong family, and other fanciful types....

Article

George J. Ferencz

(b Hartford, CT, 3 Aug 1906; d Los Angeles, CA, 26 Sept 1972). Conductor, composer, arranger, and film producer. He attended Loyola College, later studying with Joseph Schillinger and Ernst Toch. Beginning in 1927, he conducted Broadway musicals by several of its leading songwriters, including Schwartz (Flying Colors, 1932), Romberg (May Wine, 1935), Arlen (Hooray for What?, 1937), Porter (Leave it to Me, 1938), Kern (Very Warm for May, 1939), and Berlin (Louisiana Purchase, 1940). He also appeared frequently as a network radio conductor during the 1930s. He joined Paramount in 1941 and worked on several dozen films, variously as composer, arranger, conductor, or musical director, including Holiday Inn (1942), Lady in the Dark (1944), and Blue Skies (1946). He also served as producer for the lavish Paramount musicals White Christmas...

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b New York, NY, Aug 5, 1953). American composer and media artist. He studied film and video art at the State University of New York at Buffalo (MA 1976) and composition with Pauline Oliveros (1974), La Monte Young (1974–6), and finally alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University (MA 1982). He has directed and composed music for a number of his own ensembles, including the Orchestra of Excited Strings, the first iteration of which formed in 1979. Among the most rock-oriented of minimalist composers, he has experimented with performance techniques, explored original systems of tuning, and modified or created new instruments to achieve specific timbral effects. In 1984 he moved to Berlin, where he became composer-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Since arriving in Europe he has expanded his creative activities: staging multi-day performances (The Memory Projects, 1995–2001); creating installations such as From the Archives...

Article

Sabine Feisst

(b San Diego, CA, May 22, 1953). American composer, media artist, performer, and bio-acoustic researcher. After taking violin and viola lessons with Mary Gerard, James Glazebrook, and Howard Hill and pursuing undergraduate studies in music at San Diego State University, Dunn earned the MFA in new media at the Danube University’s Transart Institute in Krems, Austria (2009). He also studied composition with David Ernst, kenneth Gaburo , Norman Lowrey, and Pauline Oliveros, and served as assistant to harry Partch (1970–74), in whose ensemble he performed for a decade. Engaging in both traditional and experimental compositional approaches, Dunn has conceived music for the concert stage, radio, and film, and explored sound art, including sound installations and soundscape recordings. Dunn has also dedicated himself to studies in acoustic ecology and bio-acoustic research. He has taught at the College of Santa Fe and San Diego State University, where he was director of the Electronic Music Studio. He has served as vice-president of the International Synergy Institute in Los Angeles (...

Article

David Ades

(Joseph)

(b Toronto, ON, 24 July 1917; d Guernsey, 23 April 2005). Canadian arranger, composer, and conductor. He began his career as a trumpet player in dance bands and later worked for Percy Faith's CBC Orchestra. By 1942 he had composed two symphonies, and in 1944 he came to Britain as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force, alongside Glenn Miller and George Melachrino fronting the US and British bands. He took his army discharge in Britain, where Decca contracted him to work with their leading singers such as Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields; the BBC granted him a radio series with his own orchestra. He began composing for the cinema, and early successes out of some 40 scores included Spring in Park Lane, Maytime in Mayfair, and Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. The emergence of LPs provided orchestra leaders such as Farnon the opportunity to develop their arranging and composing talents more fully, and his Decca albums from the 1950s have become highly prized by admirers, especially fellow musicians in the United States. Many have acknowledged his influence, including John Williams, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, and Johnny Mandel. Farnon's light orchestral cameos are among the finest to have been written since World War II, notably ...

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b Redwood City, CA, April 19, 1954). American composer, guitarist, instrument builder, educational technology specialist, and media designer. He attended classes with Robert Sheff, robert Ashley , and terry Riley at Mills College (1972–3) and studied at Canada College in Redwood City (1973–4), California, Cabrillo College in Aptos, California (1974–5), San Francisco State University (1975–6), and Virginia Commonwealth University (1976–7). In the late 1970s he collaborated with Serge Tcherepnin on the construction of the Modular Music System. In the early 1980s he was appointed technical director at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music and in 1989 he became a lecturer at California State University in Hayward; then he taught at Diablo Valley College, Expression College for Digital Arts, and San Jose State University. He held composer residencies at Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (1992), Amsterdam’s Steim (...

Article

Fred Steiner

(b Salt Lake City, UT, 26 March 1907; d Long Beach, CA, 10 Dec 1969). Composer and conductor. He studied music at the University of Utah and took private piano and organ lessons with the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, J. Spencer Cornwall. After working for radio stations in his native city, he moved to California (1928), where he arranged music and conducted for radio stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. From 1932 to 1941 he worked for Walt Disney, writing for the Silly Symphony series and many other short films. He also composed for Disney's first two animated feature films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio; for the latter he won Academy Awards for best original score and best song (“When you Wish upon a Star”). After leaving Disney he worked at various studios (mainly RKO and 20th Century-Fox), composing, conducting, and arranging for more than 120 feature films and several television programs. Although sometimes typecast as a scorer of comedies, Harline was a skillful, imaginative, and often original craftsman, whose best work reveals a genuine dramatic flair. Two of his Disney scores, ...

Article

Kate Daubney

[Leonard](George)

(b New York, NY, 13 Feb 1908; d Los Angeles, CA, 24 April 1971). Musical director, conductor, and arranger. He began his career as a pianist, playing and arranging for jazz artists, in particular for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in the late 1920s. His arrangements of classic songs for Whiteman, such as “Nobody's Sweetheart,” are considered among the finest of their era, blending jazz instruments with those of the traditional orchestra. His later arrangement of “Star Dust” provided a hit in the early 1940s for clarinetist Artie Shaw. In 1940 he became musical director for Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios before moving to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953. He was involved in arranging scores for a number of films and musicals, including The Harvey Girls (1945) and The Pirate (1948); the arrangements reflect the complexity achieved in his work for Whiteman, although film music had only recently incorporated jazz into its idioms. He was nominated for Academy Awards for his work on several notable musicals, including ...

Article

Kate Daubney

(b Haverstraw, NY, 25 Aug 1908; d Los Angeles, CA, 3 Feb 1980). Musical director, orchestrator, and conductor. His association with cinema music began as a young man with employment as a pianist and organist for a silent movie theater in Mechanicsville, New York. He became a protégé of Leo Forbstein, the first musical director at Warner Bros.’ studios, after helping with the scoring of the first sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927). He effectively served his apprenticeship with Warner Bros., rising through the music department as a performer and orchestrator-arranger. During this period he orchestrated for Max Steiner on Daughters Courageous (1939). When Forbstein retired in 1947, Heindorf succeeded him, remaining as head of the department until 1959, although he continued to conduct and arrange scores. He was nominated for 18 Academy Awards between 1942 and 1968 and received three: for the musical direction on ...

Article

Durrell Bowman

(Roy)

(b Los Angeles, 14 Aug 1953; d Santa Barbara, CA, 22 June 2015). American film composer and conductor. The son of the Bohemian American production designer Harry Horner, James Horner studied at the RCM, where his teachers included György Ligeti. He moved to California in the early 1970s and attended the University of the Pacific and then USC. He then earned the master’s degree in composition and music theory at UCLA, where he also taught music theory and worked on a doctorate; his professors included Paul Chihara. In 1978 Horner scored a series of films for the American Film Institute (including The Watcher), and in 1979 he began scoring feature-length films, including work for B-movie producer Roger Corman.

Horner often incorporates electronic elements, choral or solo vocal music (including wordless female voices), and Celtic and other ‘world music’ elements. He has scored a large number of science fiction and action films, and also many dramas and children’s films, totaling nearly one hundred feature film scores as of ...

Article

Donald A. Henriques

(b Mazatlán, Mexico, Nov 18, 1917; d Mérida, Mexico, April 15, 1957). Mexican film actor and singer. Pedro Infante was the third of nine children born into a working-class family. His formative years were spent in Guamúchil, Sinaloa, where his father was a musician and music teacher. In his teen years, Infante apprenticed in carpentry and even made his own guitar. He played violin, guitar, and percussion in his father’s orchestra and, by 1937, was leading his own group.

In the hopes of furthering his musical career, Pedro Infante moved to Mexico City in 1939. His singing debut on Radio XEB in 1940 was soon followed by appearances on Radio XEW. Infante’s film career coincided with the era identified as the “golden age” of Mexican film. His first significant roles were in La feria de las flores and Jesusita en Chihuahua, both released in 1942. His lead charro...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Plzeň, 19 April 1940). Czech artist. He studied at the Pedagogical Faculty, Preliminary Art School, Academy of Fine Arts, and Mathematical Faculty of Charles University, none of which he finished. His career began in the 1960s and has included painting, happenings, performances, musical compositions, collages, and objects. Between 1999 and 2011, he was director at the National Gallery in Prague, and in 1990 started leading an intermedia class at the Academy of Visual Arts. He is the recipient of a number of grants and prizes, including DAAD, Schloss Bleckede, Design Werkstatt, and Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Best known as a controversial artist working in a variety of disciplines, Knížák has engaged with music in many ways throughout his career. In his early teens, he began composing popular songs under the influence of Jaroslav Ježek and the popular music of the day. In 1965 he began making a series titled ‘Destroyed Music’, in which he scratched, broke, painted over, or burnt vinyl records, and then played them back, the final artifact being either a new record or an installation. He also applied this method to written music, creating a number of diverse collages using both his own and other people’s music, and making use of photographs and press clippings in addition to printed and handwritten scores....

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Olomouc, 3 May 1967). Czech violinist. Raised in a musical family, she studied at the People’s School of Art in Opava with Marcela Kuvíková, then at the Ostrava Conservatory with Vítězslav Kuzník and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with the professors Jiří Vlach, Jiří Novák, and Ivan Štraus. She also took part in master classes with Josef Gingold in Greensboro, NC and with Wolfgang Marschner in Weimar. In 1990 she received a scholarship to the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she studied with Alberto Lysy.

In 1997, she became a laureate of the Prague Spring International Violin Competition. She has also received the Gideon Klein Prize, the Bärenreiter Prize, the Supraphon Prize, the Prize of the City of Prague, and the Prague Spring Foundation Prize. In 2005 she represented the Czech Republic at the World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan, together with the Prague Philharmonic....

Article

Nicola Scaldaferri

[Gjergji, Ludovik Ndoj]

(b Shkodër, Albania, 11 Nov 1923; d Shkodër, 27 Dec 2015). Albanian singer. His name is linked in particular to the musical repertoire of Ahengu and Kânge Jare, songs in which Ottoman musical roots blend with Western influences.

Born into a family from the Mirdita region, from childhood he was interested in the urban song of Shkodër. Between 1945 and 1947, in Tirana, he came to the fore as a performer with the ensemble Grupi Karakteristik Shkodran directed by Paulin Pali. In 1947 he took part in the performance of Dasma shkodrane, by Prenkë Jakova, an important pioneer of Albanian musical theatre.

In the early 1950s Bik Ndoja emerged in the musical milieu of Shkodra by singing on the radio, in the House of Culture, and at the Perlat Rexhepi musical club.

During the years of the dictatorship, he continued to live in Shkodra and worked as a tailor, though his renown as a singer grew steadily, thanks to his activity at Radio Shkodra and Radio Tirana, and at the local ...

Article

Donald A. Henriques

(Alberto )

(b Guanajuato, Mexico, Nov 30, 1911; d Los Angeles, CA, Dec 5, 1953). Mexican film actor and singer. Jorge Negrete was the second of five children born into an upper-class military family. In 1931 he debuted on Radio XETR singing operatic arias and romantic ballads. During this time Negrete also studied voice with José Pierson, a respected vocal coach in Mexico City. In 1936, at the request of Emilio Azcárraga, owner of Radio XEW, Negrete moved to New York City to costar on an NBC radio show entitled The Mexican Caballeros. Although his movie career began in 1937, it was the 1941 film ¡Ay, Jaliscono te rajes! (Hey Jalisco…Don’t Give Up) that made Negrete a star. The singing charro (cowboy) role as played by Negrete displayed the character qualities of what would become the model for the singing charro of the 1940s and 1950s—a brave, God-fearing, macho figure with “right” on his side....

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Film composer Alex North, Broadway composer Leonard Bernstein, bandleader Benny Goodman, Oct. 28, 1946

Photofest